If you have kept up with my blog lately then you know I have been annoyed with myself. I often refer to myself as a "bum." The main reason for that is I don't always get things done when I need to and I have been unmotivated for the past year. I think I may have learned the secret to motivating myself: positive reinforcement.
In retrospect I'm not sure why this was so difficult to figure out. When I was a kid I used to get up at 6am every morning and do my schoolwork (I was homeschooled). I normally finished by noon and had ample time to play outside in the mud (I enjoyed mud and frankly, Michigan is a mudhole). I am doing the same thing really, I get my work done and then I get a reward (mud). The main difference is that now I have to come up with a better reward and that can cost money. For example, since I completed my housework and made it to the gym this week I get to go see a movie. Next week I might do something more mundane like playing Civ IV. That's the only game I play. I find it's a constructive way to deal with my kneejerk neo-conservative leanings -- don't judge me I was once just like you, I mean, I was educated by neo-cons. Conquer a few virtual civilizations, win a virtual space race, set off a few virtual ICBMs and I'm all set to talk about what's wrong with the economy again. So, it's a very rewarding game. I digress as usual. I find that fun is a lot more rewarding when I know I have done my work. I must have forgot that fact in college since I had to grab fun when I could because most of what I did was study, study, study.
Housework and exercise are not the only things I have let slide over the past year. I have become terminally bad at sticking to my writing. I have jumped from one novel to the next with gaps of two months in between a couple weeks of frenzied effort. The hard working times never last. So, I have set down and really started editing my 2005 NaNo novel. I have the prologue in ship-shape condition. I have even allowed people to read it and tell me what's wrong with it. If you want to be one of those people and I trust you then send me an email and I might let you read my work. It's good to get all the feedback I can -- not that I will take everything you say seriously.
I feel a whole lot better about myself now. I realize that my problem has not been that there is something terribly wrong with me. It's been that I know I am not doing my best with my responsibilities. I think it's time for the bum to retire. Of course, if I get sick then the bum can come back for a few days.